and earth. They are often employed in the search for oil, as well
as other natural resources.
— Grades refers to a way of classifying the many
varieties of crude oil that exist around the world. The
commonly accepted grades are:
• Light / Heavy
— These terms refer to different grades
of crude oil. Heavy crude has a low API Gravity and a high
proportion of heavy hydrocarbon fractions; light crude has high
API Gravity but a low proportion of light hydrocarbon fractions.
Both heavy and light crudes can also be classified as sour or sweet.
• Sour / Sweet
— These are terms used to denote a
given crude oil’s sulphur content. Crude oil with a high sulphur
content (0.5% by weight and above) is considered sour; crude
with a low sulphur content (less than 0.5%) is considered sweet.
Either kind of crude can also be further classified as heavy or
— Any organic compound that is made up
of only hydrogen and carbon atoms is considered a hydrocarbon.
Crude oil is a kind of liquid hydrocarbon.
Intergovernmental organization
— An inter­
governmental organization is an organization set up by and
composed of several governments from any region of the world
who share a common interest. They work collectively and
collaboratively to achieve their common objective and to carry
out projects and plans that benefit the organization.
Non-OPEC oil producers
– These are countries that
produce and export oil but which are not members of OPEC.
Non-renewable energy
— Energy sources which exist
in nature in finite quantities are considered non-renewable
sources of energy. These include coal, natural gas, nuclear
energy and petroleum. Renewable energies, on the other hand,
are those energies that are continuously available, such as wind
and solar energies.
— This is the condition of allowing
substances like water to flow into or out of an object. When a
rock is porous and allows oil to accumulate in it or flow out of it
easily, it is considered highly permeable.
—Anything that has to dowith vibrations or tremors
in an object or a body. This is most often used when describing
vibrations in the Earth, which can be naturally occurring (as
in earthquakes). In oil exploration, seismic technology sends
sound waves that cause underground vibrations, bounce back
to the measuring tools and are then measured and analyzed for
signs of oil deposits.
Sovereign nations
— A country or nation that has
complete political authority over its own decisions and actions
is considered sovereign.
— This refers to any number of individuals
or groups that have an interest (or a ‘stake’) in some event or
process. It is a term that is often used to refer simply to those
who stand to benefit or lose from the pursuit of a particular
policy or action.
Upstream / downstream
— These are the two major
sectors of the oil industry. The upstream generally refers to
the exploration and production aspects of the business, and
pertains to all the activities and equipment located in both
the production train and above the surface by the wellhead.
The downstream, in turn, denotes the commercialization
of petroleum products, referring to operations after the
production phase — that is, oil refining and retailing, and the
distribution of refined products.
Sources: Barron’sDictionaryofFinance&InvestmentTerms,CFTC
Glossary, Energy Information Administration, IMF Terminology
Database, Merriam-Webster Dictionary; NYMEX’s Glossary of
Terms, OPEC, Oxford English Dictionary, Schlumberger’s Oilfield
Glossary, The Street, The United Nations.
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